The first Christmas season here in Brooklyn, CT, I came home from shopping one afternoon to see a black-and-white tuxedo kitty running around the back of the house. My first thought was “That looks like Pazzy” but Paz, Woody, and Ariel, the three cats that shared our home back in 2001, were strictly indoor cats; I never let them outside so I simply assumed this was a stray that looked like Paz. I didn’t get that good of a look at him. So I went about my business of unloading the car and carrying my bags to the door. By the time I had opened it, the stray cat had completely slipped my mind except for a vague wish that he or she would not find Route 6 any time soon.
Setting down my bundles, I noticed that none of my kitties came to greet me at the door. That was very unusual because they always did. However, I still wasn’t making the connection between the Pazzy-lookalike and my own precious felines. I called a greeting. Still no response. That’s when it hit me. That “stray” didn’t look like Pazzy; it was Paz!
My first thought, because I assumed Woody and Ariel were still somewhere in the house, was that he’d slipped by Dan when Dan went out to visit his friend, Timmy, and play some cards. After all, the door had been locked tight. But where was Arial and Woody? I started searching the house. Nobody sleeping on the bed, the sofa, any of the chairs. I checked all the usual “haunts”; then even scoped out the closets and every other possible hiding place just to rule them all out. Finally, I had to concede that somehow they had all gotten out and there was no way that all three could have slipped by Dan together. I ran outside and around back where I’d last seen Paz.
Calling his name, I looked everywhere for all of them. Suddenly, Paz flew out from under the back deck, streaked by me and scurried under the shed. This wasn’t going to be easy and I needed help. I ran back inside and called Dan.
“By any chance did you let the cats outside?” I asked because I still couldn’t fathom how all of them had escaped at once.
“Of course not. Why?”
“They’re not in the house. I saw Paz running around the back of the house when I got home. And none of the other cats are in the house either. Paz just crawled under the shed. I can’t find Woody or Ariel anywhere.”
“I’ll be right home.”
Dan and I spent the better part of two hours trying to find them. After another careful sweep of the house, we ascertained that none of them was inside. We checked all of the doors. All of them were latched and locked tight; there was no way anyone could get in or any possibility the wind could’ve blown a door open to let them out. We headed back outside.
Flashlight in hand, Dan started shining it under the shed. Nothing.
“Are you sure this is where he went?”
“Yes. He was under the deck before that.”
A light bulb went off in both our heads. Maybe they were all under the deck. Outside was probably a scary place for three inexperienced kitties. But how were we going to get them back out? There was no access for humans under that deck unless we started taking it apart.
Suddenly, Dan grabbed the garden house and turned on the water. Walking backwards and forwards he started hosing down the back deck. Within seconds Paz came scurrying out. I managed to scoop him up and put him inside, rejoicing that I had one little bundle of joy safe at hand again. Dan kept the hose running, concentrating on the back corners now. Ariel excavated some of the dirt away from the bottom of the deck and seemed to grow out of the ground like a giant mole. I caught her up and took her inside, too. That left Woody. And, as he was the most skittish of the three, after another 20 minutes of hosing the deck, we were both forced to conclude that Woody had not joined his siblings under the deck. Where was he? Dan turned off the hose.
By now, I was in hysterics. Where was my Woody? Though I love all of my cats, Woody held a very special place in my heart. Though all three are/were extremely affectionate, Woody was the ultimate cuddle bug. Got lap? Have Woody. He just couldn’t be lost. I started praying, an endless litany of the same thing over and again. “Please don’t let him be lost for good, Lord!”; “Please help us find him.”; “Please don’t let him get out on Route 6 or let anything attack him.” Shuddering at the thought, I walked to the edge of the road and looked up and down it, breathing a sigh of relief that no little gray and black tiger-striped cat was “gracing” it. I started walking towards the woods. I would overturn every rock and branch in those woods if I thought it would help me to find him. I noticed some teenage boys sitting atop the hill and wondered, briefly, if they could have let them out as a prank but how did they get in to do so? Again, all three doors were locked, as were the windows. It was December, after all. More likely, they were drawn to my big mouth calling for my cats and were simply getting a show.
It was then that I heard Dan call out, “I’ve got him!” Woody had chosen to hide in the front bushes. Dan searched them on a hunch and Woody came right to him; he didn’t like his trip outside.
“Thank you, Lord!”
I never ran so fast in my life.
Later, after all three felines were safely inside again, Dan and I started wondering how they had gotten out in the first place. We checked the doors again. They were all closed tightly. All of the locks on the windows were set and there was no sign of any forced entry. Though I still don’t rule out a teenage prank entirely, it is only because I hate thinking that some “other” entity had a hand in their escape. Though I am by no means an expert on the supernatural, or ghosts, I’ve read, watched and studied enough documentation to know that pets are often innocent targets during a haunting. And would teenage boys hang around after the fact? It is more likely they would have lit out of there, not wanting to get caught as suspects in a breaking and entering.
Today, I’m just grateful we found them all. Paz and Ariel are still beloved blessings in my life; Woody was likewise until his passing in 2012. And his memory is something I will cherish until my own dying day. I am also grateful that “my” ghosts have not seen fit to let the cats out again…
Perhaps it was a teenage prank after all…
May God bless you and keep you!